Faster development and deployment of software is great, but if you think about it, the underlying premise of DevOps is kind of an oxymoron: faster and better software delivery. Haven’t these usually been mutually exclusive goals? But shorter development cycles and closer collaboration under a DevOps approach means you catch problems before they go to production, and so spend less time fixing them under duress.

devops ebook cover (1)The timeless battle of supporting software in production is often about balancing time spent on reactive firefighting versus proactive efforts such as building and testing. Software quality is directly correlated to customer-impacting incidents, so it pays to invest the time and energy into addressing quality issues earlier in the cycles.

As reported in Puppet Labs’ 2015 State of DevOps report, high-performing companies are recognizing that quality is a shared responsibility of everyone involved in the software delivery lifecycle, and that quality should be built into the software earlier in the development process.

Approaches like TDD (Test Driven Development), CI (Continuous Integration), and CD (Continuous Deployment) can all help to proriotize work that is focused on quality improvements. But how do you know when those approaches are working? As with the other critical drivers of DevOps success (application performance, customer experience, business metrics, and speed), it helps to measure the effectiveness of each by tracking core KPIs.

To quantify the quality of your software’s overall continuous improvement efforts, consider tracking the following metrics:

  • Deployment success rate
  • App error rates
  • Incident severity
  • Outstanding bugs

Since many quality issues don’t appear until the software hits production, the ability to compare all metrics pre- and post-deploy is extremely helpful in understanding the impact of a specific release. With a before-and-after view, DevOps teams can respond quickly and roll back a release or rapidly fix any issues.

Want to know whether your DevOps efforts are making a positive impact on the business? Read our ebook, “DevOps Without Measurement Is a Fail,” for other key metrics to track to measure your DevOps success.

Asami Novak is director of content strategy and development at New Relic. Prior to joining the New Relic team, she wrote marketing and ad copy for a variety of B2B and B2C companies. Her editorial writing has appeared in WIRED and Dwell, among other publications. View posts by .

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